At Island Mountain Organics, we make paper from our harvested cannabis stalks.
The long, living fibers of the inner bark that transport water and nutrients through the plant are ideal for making paper. For fiber folk, this is called herbaceous bast fiber.
In order to remove the bast fiber from the plant, we ferment, or ret, the stalks by submerging them in tanks of water.
After three weeks or more, depending on temperature and bacterial activity, the bast fiber loosens from the woody core of the stalk.
Pulled from the retting tanks, the bast fiber is stripped and separated from the woody core.
The cannabis is spread out in a single layer to dry & bleach in the strong sun, until further processing. Retting tanks & the garden in the background.
When we’re ready to make paper, we soak the fiber in clean water overnight, and then feed it into this Noble & Wood Hollander beater, which can handle about 5lbs of dry fiber each batch. The beater hydrates and fibrillates, while separating the individual fibers, transforming them to pulp.
When the pulp is beaten to the desired consistency, we transfer it into 5 gallon buckets.
It is then added to a vat of water to form a slurry.
A mould & deckle is dipped into the vat of pulp.
The water strains out from the pulp, leaving a single sheet of paper on the mould.
The paper is then transferred, or couched, onto a felt.
The felt & paper stack is pressed, and then transferred to metal plates (above), or a stack dryer (below) to dry flat under restraint.
After repeating the process of pulling, couching, pressing, and drying, we have a stack of dried cannabis paper.
Cannabis fiber can produce many different types of paper, from thin and translucent to card stock.
Bad Bad Leroy Brown!
Our paper featured prominently in our display at the 2017 Emerald Cup.